Oct 15

Monarchs, At Last

Posted: under Climate Change, photography, Wildlife.
Tags: , , ,  October 15th, 2011

Monarchs nectaring on Gayfeather (Liatris sp.)

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Aug 23

Deep Drought

Posted: under Climate Change, Mortality, photography, Plantlife, Water, Wildlife.
Tags: , , ,  August 23rd, 2011

Roughleaf dogwood & oak thicket in August 2011

East margin of creek woods–August 2011-leaves turning & dropping

Cactus Flat: even the prickly pear is drying out

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Jul 08

Always Something New

Posted: under photography, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , , ,  July 8th, 2011

An unfamiliar plant shows up every now and then (more often after rains, and really often after flood events that move seeds from upstream above our property down into the damp areas.)    Over the weekend, my husband reported a plant new to him over on Westbrook near the south fenceline: a Composite, very small flowers and bicolored, like a miniature gaillardia, he said.  Plant up to three feet tall, straggly, with narrow (lanceolate to linear) leaves.  A couple of days later he brought back a drying specimen of the flowers; I tried to revive it in water so I could look it up, but no luck.

I finally made it over there early this morning, and as usual saw more than I came for.    First, while walking through the south end of the creek woods, I heard a bird I didn’t recognize (along with white-eyed vireos, cardinals, Carolina wrens, mockingbirds…)  and then I saw a flash of yellow and black…not a bird, but a large butterfly.   We’ve had more and more tiger swallowtails in the past few years, both in the house yards and down in the creek woods, but I’ve had little luck photographing them.  They’re strong flyers, skittish, and prefer to perch (when they perch) with plenty of greenery between me and them.   Today I got lucky.

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Jun 23

Cloud Pavilion: New Rain Barn

Posted: under Activities, Water, Wildlife.
Tags: ,  June 23rd, 2011

On land with no permanent water source, rain harvesting is the only way to provide reliable supplemental water for wildlife.    (Well, you can lug it in on your back or a cart or trailer, but that’s no fun at all when temperatures top 100F day after day.)   And rainwater is a healthier source of water for some (most?) wildlife than treated city water, even if that were affordable and available.  Supplying supplemental water is a key activity in the support of wildlife, critical in times of drought.   So, over the years, we’ve built “rain barns” to capture and store rainwater for this purpose.   We also do rainwater collection off existing roofs (house, carport, horse barn) to provide water for the horses, water garden, and a few trees.

Fox Pavilion: 610 gallons storage max

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Oct 23

Leaves and Acorns

Posted: under photography, Plantlife.
Tags: , ,  October 23rd, 2010

Fall color here starts early (sometimes very early)  but slowly, moving leaf by leaf, species by species, until the final flare of rich red from the last oaks in late November (with the occasional rusty blackhaw viburnum holding on to its red leaves into December.)

Smooth sumac, green and burgundy

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Oct 03

Monarchs in Fall

Posted: under photography, Wildlife.
Tags: , , ,  October 3rd, 2010

Some years we get spectacular drifts of Monarchs migrating south, and some years they come in little groups of three or four…not many at a time.   Today I went out on a day of blue sky, bright sun, brisk north wind, just to see what was out there.

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Jul 31

After Rain

Posted: under Plantlife, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , ,  July 31st, 2010

Significant rain in July is uncommon, and we picked up inches and inches–after the very dry spring and early summer, this was a relief to us and to everything that lives on the place.

Switchgrass head-high in July

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Jul 20

Strange Cousins

Posted: under photography, Wildlife.
Tags: , ,  July 20th, 2010

Today when hanging up the wash, I spotted something small on the end of a clothespin that was hanging upside down from the line.   It was the same mottled dull gray-brown as the clothespin itself, and it was between the V of the angled ends.  I carefully removed the clothespin from the line and put it on the table, then went to get my camera.   After a fruitless search for the macro lens (I put it somewhere safe.  Very safe.   Too safe)  I had to use the zoom lens, which is a sort of zoom macro but won’t focus closer than about 18 inches.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 09

Dragonflies

Posted: under photography, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , ,  July 9th, 2010

Today, after the rains of the past two weeks–and then a hot sunny midday–we had more species of odonates at the lily pond than I’ve seen yet this year.   And the males all wanted a landing site on this stick:

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Jul 01

More Pond Life

Posted: under photography, Plantlife, Water, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , , , ,  July 1st, 2010

When I went out yesterday about noon, I found four of these lovely pink waterlily flowers open:

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